Home Blog

Why Every Marketer Should Learn the Basics of SEO Even if They Operate a Physical Business

0

Properly marketing your business is essential to its success because it helps to increase the demand for your services or products. One important digital tool for ensuring your physical business realizes brand awareness and positions you as a trustworthy and authoritative presence in your field is SEO. Besides visibility, SEO allows you to convert browsers into customers.

Understanding SEO’S Importance

Search engine optimization (SEO) gives your business visibility online by ensuring it appears higher up in search engine rankings. The higher up your business appears, the easier it is to answer customer questions, lead to brand trust and increase traffic.

You must remember some crucial elements when working out an SEO strategy:

1.      Keyword Optimization

Well researched keywords and phrases help connect prospective clients with your business. These include short-tail, long-tail, and local keywords in your content to accommodate what prospective customers type in when searching for your products— do your research on keywords with high search rates and those with low competitiveness.

2.      Content That Fits

Engage your audience with appropriate content like educational blogs, web page content, videos, podcasts, social media posts, infographics, etc. Relevant and exciting content instantly becomes shareable, ensuring your business becomes known.

3.      Building Backlinks

Otherwise known as off-page SEO, building quality backlinks to your site from external sites helps build authority with search engines. Therefore, include linking from other resources. Avoid plagiarism at all costs because search engines pick it up with consequences to your rankings.

4.      Importance of Local SEO

Local SEO has become more relevant since 60% of all searches today start from a mobile device, and half of these searches have local intent. Besides local SEO, claim listings with directories and create location-specific pages for your site.

Importance of Practicing These Basics For Your Physical Business

Learning SEO basics for your business gives it the best chance of survival in a competitive market. The benefits include:

  • Credibility and Trust – The higher your site ranks on search engine pages, the more trustworthy it appears, boosting your business credibility. Achieve this by improving your content, site speed, and keywords. Together, unpaid (SEO) and paid marketing strategies (PPC) create a winning combination. PPC gives your site a good place in paid search results, while SEO boosts it organically, increasing your brand’s credibility.
  • Minimal cost – All it takes is some of your time, but SEO uses organic marketing efforts that do not have a price like other marketing strategies. Include SEO into your original content, not omitting to include keywords and visual content like videos, images, and infographics. To make your SEO efforts more effective, write the best content that beats that of your competitors and share it on as many social media platforms as possible.
  • Gain Competitive Advantage – First-page search engine results get the most traffic – 90%, so join your competitors and invest in SEO for better market share. Research what your competitors’ sites offer and do it better. Meanwhile, make your site mobile-friendly and fast to ensure a better user experience (UX). A user-friendly site structure and ease of navigation help reduce bounce rates.
  • Reach More People – An excellent SEO strategy helps you reach more than your target audience. So don’t just target demographics with your keywords, but aim to target others with appropriate keywords, no matter the phase of the buying funnel they may be.
  • Rank Better For Those Searching Locally – Data shows that almost 80% of local searches lead to further actions because these searchers are ready to purchase. Create a Google My Business account that includes your correct business name, address, and phone number for better SEO. Request reviews from customers. These steps help optimize your business for searches. Don’t forget that voice search is crucial to consumers today, so give them answers to their queries through your content. Use local keywords everywhere, including your content.
  • Use Insights for Quantifiable Results – One of the significant benefits of SEO is tracking data like your site ranking, website traffic, and conversions. These insights remain invaluable to improving your SEO strategy.
  • Improved Engagement Rates – The more your content meets the searcher’s needs, the more time they spend on your website. Improved SEO boils down to quality traffic that leads to conversions and higher ROI. Customers connect more with a brand when they are encouraged to spend longer on a website. Optimize everything on your site, including meta tags and titles. Additionally, make it mobile safe and friendly to improve user engagement.

Last Word

SEO is a digital marketing strategy that no online or physical business should ignore. Besides giving your business visibility, it promotes your brand and encourages customer engagement, leading to higher conversions and ROI. So iron out issues in your SEO and enjoy the results!

The Impact COVID Had On Work Relationships

0

Some people argue that working remotely has several benefits. However, many work relationships suffered in the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic when many workers left the office to work from home. The impact of missing out on daily informal interactions and general workplace camaraderie with colleagues was huge.

Loss of Social Capital

The unplanned interactions of people going about their work are known as social capital. Its benefits include mentoring, kindness, and knowledge sharing, which contribute to the thriving of organizations and their employees. Furthermore, social capital helps generate new ideas, lower staff turnover, better employee performance, and lower employee absenteeism.

Changes to social capital spurred by the shift to remote work changed social capital within the workplace. Yet, despite the continued need for interactions and online meetings, people globally reported feeling disconnected and isolated.

Studies showed increased interactions with close networks at the onset of remote work, whereas those with more distant networks shrunk. However, even close network interactions started fading with time, leaving a legacy of increased silo effect with more one-on-one or small group chats.

Less Productivity and Innovation

Strong workplace relationships positively affect organizations, leading to more productivity and innovation. However, with the breakdown in communication during COVID-19, many people reported decreased ability to brainstorm, innovate, or collaborate.

Social isolation was challenging for new employees and those in their mid-twenties. The lack of networking, onboarding, and training made it difficult for new employees to feel included in communications with both their direct teams and leadership.

Remote communication and lack of networking made it more difficult for young employees to feel engaged. They found it more difficult to share ideas during remote meetings or to have their say.

The upside is that many people reported improved communication when companies returned to a more hybrid model, decreasing their sense of isolation.

Shifting Command-and-Control Leadership

Collaborative processes bore the brunt of working from home for many teams as many leaders used the opportunity to avoid the process to get things done faster. However, the shift from a collaborative approach to a direct approach often leads to feelings of voicelessness and frustration since people are side-lined. In addition, tensions can ensue from this approach, disrupting the balance of power.

The danger remains that the collaborative leadership approach, one not favored by everyone, will be dismissed for a more directive approach.

Friendships and Work

Close work relationships and the rituals followed increase work fulfillment while improving productivity and company loyalty. On the other hand, working from home leads to loneliness. Its effects are the same as some people’s loneliness in the office, affecting their professional and personal well-being. Moreover, the lack of shared spaces and conversations takes its toll on these friendships, requiring extra effort to survive long-term. However, maintaining these friendships has the benefits of relieving both a sense of alienation and stress.

Uncertainty is another aspect of working from home, notably since the pandemic increased unemployment and social injustices. The results include increased depression, lack of energy, and burnout. On the other hand, maintaining office friendships remotely became an effort for some people, making it easier for some to recalibrate the balance of work life.

Whatever is best depends on the individual, but the difficulty of maintaining work friendships may mean that people shun them and their positive effects, preferring to shift their energy towards non-work relationships, their families, and favorite pastimes.

Maintaining Workplace Relationships Post-Covid

Ensuring people don’t feel isolated requires a small effort but promises great rewards to help keep everyone mentally healthy, productive, and fulfilled.

Replacing the conversations around the water cooler with digital communications like regular messages and newsletters encourages people to stay in touch, whether they work remotely on a hybrid model.

Listening remains vital to ensuring everyone has a role to play, helping to foster workplace relationships across all divisions and chains of command.

Employee relationships remain vital to satisfied employees who pay it back with loyalty and better productivity. In addition, communication and collaboration require encouragement, whether teams work remotely or just a few meters apart. Moreover, strong teams thrive on appreciation and recognition, which involves effort under all circumstances.

Last Take

The pandemic impacted work relationships in several ways; studies have shown its adverse effects. However, as people shift to a hybrid work model or return to the office, the opportunities for a social connection and work satisfaction remain. These opportunities include keeping an open line of communication, listening, and creating chances for involvement and team-building activities. Maintaining the above ensures teams that will collaborate happily together, no matter where they work from, at home, in the office, or the new reality of hybrid work.

 

5 Simple Tricks for Maximizing the Success of a Franchise Location

0

A franchise is one of the most prevalent business models globally, and forming a new location can be daunting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many aspects involved and so much to do to get your franchise off on the right foot. But don’t let that stop you! This article will show you five simple tricks for maximizing the success of a franchise location.

1. Pick the Right Location for Your Franchise

The location you decide to build a franchise is the most essential choice. It will affect your success or failure, so don’t skimp on it. You can’t just select any location you want and make a profit. So ensure you also pick the right franchise.

2. Hire the Right People

After you’ve found your ideal location, it’s time to hire workers who will help you make your business a huge success! They are an essential part of this entire process, and they’re what will make or break your franchise. When considering whom to hire, you should consider the following factors.

Work Ethic. You should always lead by example and work hard yourself. If you do so, your employees will follow suit. Therefore, you’ll want to find hard-working and reliable people when you hire employees.

Work History. Will they be a good fit for your business? It would help if you looked up their resumes on employment websites or use tools to ensure they have relevant experience to help you in your new endeavor.

Experience. This is a critical factor, so you should pay the most attention. Are they going to do a good job, or are they just newbies? You don’t want to hire anyone who doesn’t know what it takes to succeed in their role.

3. Create a Mission Statement

Your mission statement should help your team members know who they’re working for and how their work will make a difference in the larger community. Provide your workers with an understanding of what success means to you and how their roles play into the bigger picture. Once you’ve done that, make sure everyone gets a copy of it. It would help print it out on your company letterhead and display it in a prominent place for all employees to see regularly.

4. Plan for the Future

You can’t just assume that things will work out or that there won’t be any issues or problems along the way. You need to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever might happen. This means thinking about everything that can go wrong and handling it in advance.

5. Develop a Marketing Plan

The goal for any new business is to get more customers and retain the ones you have. It would help if you had a marketing plan that launches right along with your grand opening. Offer employee discounts. If they want to bring a friend or family member in with them, they can discount their meal or products. Solidify everyone’s loyalty and encourage them to bring in new people to try your services.

Use social media. Put it to work for your business by telling everyone about your new franchise. Post pictures, announce special deals and share thoughts on upcoming events.

In conclusion, it’s essential to take your time and conduct a thorough search before you start. Make sure you have all the information you need and make a well-informed decision. How you think about franchising will determine how you succeed, so do your research.

Is US Inflation Telling Us More Than We Want to Know?

0

Consumers everywhere are dealing with the impact of higher prices. But unfortunately, the long-term effects of high inflation could be much, much worse.

Inflation has been on the minds of Americans and consumers around the world for months. It is easy to see the price of food, gasoline, and other necessities skyrocketing, but it might be challenging to decipher exactly what it all means. The following points represent a solid place to start for anyone hoping to determine how higher prices might affect other aspects of life.

Keep an Eye on Your Retirement Accounts

Since inflation can disrupt the status quo and devalue currency, it stands to reason that even retirement investments will not be spared its potentially devastating effects. Moreover, those who have not yet retired must now re-evaluate their future needs since the cost of living is on pace to be higher than it would have been if the inflation rate had not spiked over the past year.

Hopefully, the current inflationary period will be short-lived, and the long-term effects will be minimal. For example, suppose you are getting close to retirement age. In that case, however, it is vital to begin saving as much money as possible to maintain a comfortable standard of living after exiting the workforce. In some cases, it might make sense to move investments into more secure vehicles that are not as deeply tied to the rate of inflation.

The current trend means that pensions of all types will be worth less than they previously were. This can negatively affect prospects for workers of all ages. For that reason, consulting with a trusted adviser could be the best way to safeguard your retirement portfolio against the ravaging impact of inflation.

Stocks and Bonds Could Become Erratic

Traditional investments in the stock or bond markets are generally low-risk propositions. As long as a portfolio is adequately diverse, there is a good chance that investors will see a profitable return. When inflation rears its ugly head, however, all bets are off. Stocks and bonds alike can be impacted for better or worse by the rate at which consumer prices trend upward.

On Wall Street, inflation is generally an indicator that stock prices will increase. While this might appear good news, that isn’t always the case. Publicly traded companies tend to adopt a higher operating cost during inflationary periods, which can boost the price of each share. Nevertheless, inflation is inherently unpredictable, and its ripple effect often causes disruptions to the stock market that can send prices tumbling unexpectedly.

For those investing in the bond market, the future can be equally confusing. Particularly when discussing U.S. Treasury bonds, it is easy to see how the fixed rate of return can be impacted by rapidly rising costs elsewhere. When the inflation rate eclipses the fixed interest rate, those bonds begin to lose their value. This typically starts a troubling cycle in which investors sell their bonds, and the Treasury is forced to raise its yields to attract new buyers.

Be Careful About Borrowing

As a direct result of the central bank increasing interest rates to slow the rate of inflation, borrowers of all types will be stuck with higher amounts to pay back to their lenders. This can impact individuals shopping for a home or car and those hoping to qualify for a business loan.

The housing market is already very tight, with residences often selling in record time and often above the asking price. Furthermore, supply chain interruptions have caused the price of new and used cars to shoot up even higher than the cost of other consumer goods. Combined with an interest rate that will make these significant purchases even more expensive in the long run, inflation could cause people to put off their plans to buy a home or vehicle until the economic turmoil cools down a bit.

Things Could Get Much Worse

Although there are plenty of reasons to lament that inflation is at its highest point in more than four decades, that doesn’t mean that the situation is as bad as possible. While many economists attempt to downplay the situation and suggest that inflation has hit its peak, there is no real guarantee.

Other nations have hit a point commonly referred to as hyperinflation, which is triggered when an economy’s inflation rate tops 50% in a single month. That is still a long way off from where America is right now, but it is within the realm of possibility. If America or any other powerful nation enters a phase of hyperinflation, it could result in a downfall of the economy, unlike anything the modern world has ever seen.

Rising prices were perhaps an unavoidable result of a global pandemic that shut down much of the world for nearly two years. However, with working-class Americans struggling to purchase household necessities, it is now more critical than ever for national and world leaders to bring this potentially devastating situation under control.

Three World Economies That Might Actually Declare Bankruptcy in the Coming Years

0

Individuals and businesses struggling to repay their debts can frequently declare bankruptcy in an attempt to regain control of their financial situation. Although there are some serious consequences that can come along with this drastic step, it is sometimes the best course of action for a particularly troubling situation. When an entire country is unable to withstand the load of its debt, however, the stakes can become much higher.

Major national economies do not often declare bankruptcy, but it has occurred in extreme cases. Technically, this occurs when a country defaults on its debt and has no ability to repay what it owes. As it stands, there are a handful of countries that could feasibly be forced into such a scenario in the relatively near future.

Russia

It’s no secret that Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine has come with staggering costs. In addition to the loss of life on both sides, Western nations have been generally united in imposing harsh sanctions on the Russian economy. This has resulted in serious speculation that the nation could soon run out of money.

In response to hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions over the course of a few weeks in early 2022, Russia’s economic situation rapidly deteriorated. Its national currency lost roughly half its value almost overnight and other countries have since banned the ruble from being used to pay outstanding debts.

Further exacerbating the situation are the costs associated with carrying out an ongoing war with Ukraine. Spending billions on its military has only made it more difficult for Russia to cover the expense of importing goods, which has caused ordinary citizens to go without a wide range of necessities.

The most startling development came in April when Russia was determined to have defaulted on its foreign debts. Experts labeled this a selective default, which basically means that the country could have paid by exchanging rubles for other currency. Since the Kremlin opted against that move, however, it went into default. Despite receiving a grace period to make the necessary payments, there was no immediate evidence that Russia would be able to significantly improve its economic situation. If the trend continues in its current trajectory, the chance of a national bankruptcy will only increase.

Belarus

This nation not only shares a border with Russia but is also one of its only allies in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Although that is one reason Belarus is currently in a precarious economic position, its government has been struggling to pay the national debt for several years.

Many Western nations have imposed sanctions that have largely crippled an already unstable economy, leading the World Bank to declare in March that Belarus was precariously close to its own default.

As far back as 2017, many economists were warning that the nation could be on the verge of bankruptcy. Its national debt topped 75% of the gross domestic product at that time, which is generally seen as unsustainable over the long term. While it was just one of several countries on this inauspicious watchlist, things have only gotten worse for the nation’s economy over the subsequent years.

Sri Lanka

Every country on the planet experienced some level of economic turmoil and uncertainty due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Some nations, however, clearly suffered more dire consequences than others. Like other destinations that rely on tourism dollars to stay solvent, the pandemic seriously hindered the Sri Lankan government.

According to recent estimates, it could face bankruptcy by the end of 2022 and remains on the hook for more than $7 billion in outstanding loans. Further adding to the problem is the staggering number of citizens living well below the poverty line. Inflation has put the bare necessities out of the reach of common families and there seems to be no evidence that things are going to get better any time soon.

What to Expect

While it remains unlikely that any or all of these countries will actually go bankrupt, there are a few things that are likely to happen in such a scenario. For starters, the insolvent nation would probably petition the International Monetary Fund or some other world financial entity for a financial bailout.

Such a rescue plan would probably result in some serious changes to the country being bailed out. When Greece followed a similar path, it was required to take austerity measures including hiking up the tax rate and making painful cuts to government-funded programs.

Other consequences for a nation that defaults on its economic responsibilities can include a steep depreciation in the value of its currency and a huge hit to its credit rating.

It is pretty close to a worst-case scenario, but in some cases, a nation has no choice. When a country defaults on its debt, the fallout can often be felt around the world, so hopefully, it won’t happen in the case of these three nations or any others.

How Much Can You Realistically Make Trading Crypto with $1000?

0

With so much uncertainty impacting financial markets worldwide, it might be tempting to begin investing in cryptocurrencies. Almost everyone has at least heard someone tout the perceived benefits of buying Bitcoin or one of the many other options currently on the market. However, the concept still seems foreign and confusing to many people, so it might be helpful to address the basics before getting into how much profit a crypto investment is likely to return.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Crypto refers to any form of currency in a digital or virtual state at its root level. Since it is typically moved through several decentralized computer systems, this currency offers high security and anonymity. As a result, more and more retailers accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Many early investors made considerable money by betting big on this game-changing development.

While there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future value of crypto, it is worth noting that there is no guarantee of its continued success. Since this is a form of currency that is not backed by any governmental entity, its value essentially comes from individuals agreeing it is valuable. If the market is ever compromised or something happens to shake the public’s faith, there is the chance that at least specific cryptocurrencies could lose most, if not all, of their value.

What Is its Track Record?

When discussing the overarching trend line of cryptocurrency prices, Bitcoin should be at the center of the conversation. This was the first major player on the scene and remained the gold standard. First released in 2009, it began to gain value by the next year. But, of course, it was a slow growth rate from less than a penny to about seven cents over several months.

It was not until 2011 that Bitcoin was officially worth a dollar. That year saw the price fluctuate wildly, hitting highs of more than $30 before settling back down to about $2. After that, Bitcoin skyrocketed to more than $1000 as of late 2013, but it soon lost nearly half of that value.

Over the next few years, the price of Bitcoin didn’t move all that much. In 2017, it started an upward trend but hit more than a few speed bumps along the way until the pandemic arrived in 2020. With economic uncertainty and fears about inflation on the rise, the past few years have been boom times for cryptocurrency. For its part, Bitcoin saw a massive increase in value during 2021 and hit a new high of roughly $64,000 before the market cooled off in early 2022.

How Much Can You Make?

Although the opportunity to get in on the ground floor is long gone, there might still be a chance to make big bucks by sinking some cash into the crypto market. Using an example of a $1000 initial investment, there are some scenarios in which it could reap five- or six-figure rewards within the next few years.

It is worth reiterating that there are no guarantees, and Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency could result in financial losses. Nevertheless, plenty of financial experts and advisors remain optimistic about the future of this relatively novel form of currency. Numerous forecasts indicate that Bitcoin could be trading at more than $100,000 by next year, and at least one prominent publication suggests it might be worth four times that much.

These are all just educated guesses made after considering past performance and likely future events. The actual value could eclipse even what the most enthusiastic supporters are predicting, or it could go bust like so many other investment vehicles in the past. Nevertheless, cryptocurrency remains an attractive alternative for any individual who desires to diversify their portfolio.

What Should You Look for?

Since cryptocurrency is so much newer than most other types of investments, it is impossible to forecast its future values accurately. However, certain factors can be used to speculate about whether it is headed in the right direction.

The principle of supply and demand dictates that the more interest investors have in acquiring cryptocurrency, the more valuable it will become. In addition, it has already become known as a potentially effective hedge against the adverse effects of inflation, so there could be a spike in demand as the world continues to see consumer prices skyrocket.

Of course, there is no way to tell if the current level of enthusiasm will remain at this level. If it begins to wane, the value of crypto could start to plummet. On the other hand, if the most optimistic predictions become a reality, investors might never again see opportunities to buy into the market for prices as low as today.

The Delayed Impact of the Ukrainian War on Commodity Prices

0

The war between Russia and Ukraine has had a significant impact on global markets, resulting in a decrease in the supply of commodities and an increase in prices. As a result, businesses that use these commodities as inputs would be forced to pay higher costs, negatively affecting the global economy.

Since February of this year, the Ukrainian conflict has been raging, and the effects are being felt worldwide. One area that has been particularly hard hit is commodity prices. Despite ceasefire agreements and talks of peace, the fighting continues, and with it, the instability driving up commodity prices. This article will take a closer look at the delayed impact of the Ukrainian war on commodity prices.

What Is the Ukrainian Conflict, and Why Are Commodity Prices Being Affected?

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not new. It began in 2014 with ongoing fights between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Russia officially invaded Ukraine more recently, and the two countries have been at war since. The main reason for the conflict is that Ukraine is torn between Russia and the West. While many Ukrainians want to align themselves with the West, Russia does not want to lose its influence over Ukraine.

This conflict has affected commodity prices because Ukraine is a significant producer of corn and wheat. In addition, Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of petroleum products. Therefore, the Ukrainian conflict has also resulted in decreased supply for these commodities and increased uncertainty in the markets.

As a result, commodity prices are likely to remain volatile until the conflict is resolved.

How Have Commodity Prices Been Affected So Far?

The war between Russia and Ukraine has been raging for months now, and there is no end in sight. As the conflict continues, it is having an increasingly significant impact on the global economy.

One of the most visible effects has been on commodity prices. The price of crude oil, for example, has skyrocketed in recent weeks as the conflict has disrupted production in the region. Russia happens to be one of the world’s largest producers of petroleum. So even though global demand has remained relatively stable, the tight supply has driven up prices.

Similarly, wheat and fertilizer prices have also risen sharply as both Russian and Ukrainian exports have dwindled. As the war between Russia and Ukraine drags on, commodity prices will likely continue to be volatile. This could lead to inflationary pressures and shortages of essential goods worldwide.

What Implications Could This Have for the Global Economy in the Future?

The war between Russia and Ukraine can have a major impact on the global economy. If the conflict continues to escalate, it could lead to a decrease in trade and investment and an increase in costs for businesses that rely on products and materials from the region.

In addition, the conflict could disrupt oil and gas supplies, resulting in higher energy prices. Additionally, the war could lead to increased tensions between Russia and the West, leading to additional economic sanctions. As a result, the battle between Russia and Ukraine is a significant concern for the global economy.

How Do International Sanctions Affect Commodity Prices Around the World?

International sanctions placed on Russia can have a ripple effect on commodities prices worldwide. For example, Russia is a leading producer of oil and natural gas. If the sanctions prevent Russia from exporting these products, it could lead to a decrease in supply and an increase in prices.

The same is true for other commodities that Russia produces, such as wheat and aluminum. In addition, the sanctions may also affect countries that trade with Russia. For instance, if China cannot buy Russian oil, it may turn to other suppliers, driving up the price of oil globally. As a result, international sanctions can significantly impact commodity prices worldwide.

How Can Businesses Prepare for Potential Price Hikes Caused by the Ukrainian War?

One of the potential impacts of the Ukrainian War is increased commodity prices. This is because Ukraine is a major supplier of corn, wheat, and barley, and Russia is a significant oil producer.

As the war causes a significant decrease in production, it will likely lead to a worldwide shortage of these products. As a result, businesses that use these commodities as inputs would be forced to pay higher prices. To prepare for this possibility, companies should hedge their commodity purchases. This involves entering into contracts that guarantee a set price for future purchases.

By doing so, businesses can protect themselves from sharp increases in prices. Although hedging can be costly, it may be worth the expense if it prevents a company from being forced out of the market due to skyrocketing costs.

Conclusion

The impact of the Ukrainian War on commodity prices has been felt throughout the world. The conflict has resulted in a decrease in the supply of commodities and a consequent increase in prices. While the full extent of the impact is not yet known, it is clear that the war has had a significant effect on global markets.

Can a Small Business Consultant Assist You in Running Your Company?

0

Every company owner eventually recognizes they want assistance and thinks, “Should I employ a consultant?”

“It depends,” as is the case with most things in life.

Hiring the proper consultant may be a cost-effective approach for your small business to utilize specialist expertise, whether establishing a new firm or developing an existing one. On the other hand, hiring the wrong consultant may cost you a lot more than money—it can also cost you a lot of time and energy.

As a result, a small business owner’s issue is comprehending the function of a consultant in their company and choosing when and how to engage one.

What is the role of a small company consultant?

A business consultant is just an outside specialist hired to assist you in resolving a problem in your company. A knowledgeable consultant may give a plethora of technical knowledge. Knowledge, abilities, experience, and a technique to improve the client’s position make up a great consultant.

Consultants, unlike in-house workers, have their schedules, may work for several clients, and are engaged on a contract/project basis. Consultants may operate alone or with their team, which often comprises one project manager and two analysts, depending on the consulting organization.

TIP: It’s typically a good idea to designate who will be the primary point of contact to prevent misunderstandings.

A consultant may help with marketing and sales development, business expansion and improvement, and even putting their recommendations and ideas into action.

Here’s a basic rundown of how the consultation process works:

Pre-consulting: Before starting work, you and your expert agree on the terms and conditions of the “consulting agreement.”

Consulting period: The consultation time consists of discovery, study, and final presentation of suggestions, which concludes the project.

Post-consulting: Following the consultation, you and the consultant may decide whether to prolong your agreement or continue further on your own.

Why do individuals engage consultants for small businesses?

Small business owners use consultants as a cost-effective approach to bridge a gap in their company’s knowledge and abilities or provide a new, objective, and professional viewpoint.

The following are the three most typical reasons why our customers seek assistance from consultants:

  1. To identify the problem(s): In many cases, a firm may exhibit worrying “symptoms,” such as a reduction in sales or cash-flow issues, but internal management is unable to pinpoint the source of the problem. A consultant may be called in to assess the symptoms in your operations, conduct tests and investigations, and determine what is wrong.
  2. To establish the solution(s): You may have a goal that you cannot fulfill internally, either because of a skills gap or because it is beyond your company’s core expertise. Hiring a qualified consultant may help you save time and money while getting a better outcome.
  3. Optimization: Your company may have increased, and you acknowledge there are many areas you may improve, but you don’t know where to start. A consultant may come in and provide you with a fresh perspective, analyze any or all elements of your business, and provide methods and procedures to help you increase productivity.

Where do you look for consultants?

The simple part, I believe, is finding consultants. Of course, you may always go through internet directories or ask friends or service providers for referrals; one idea is www.navitalglobal.com.

The problematic aspect is finding the correct specialist. This is why the “mutual consulting interview” value cannot be overstated. Personal interaction with your consultant, whether in person or over the phone, reveals more about them than any website or review. Trust your gut feelings. Is the individual enthusiastic about your business and about working with you? Do you believe they’ll be able to accomplish their goals within the time frame they’ve set?

Some consulting partnerships may not work out even with the greatest of intentions. It’s generally a shared sensation when this occurs. Put another way, don’t feel awful about firing a consultant if things aren’t working out—chances are, they realize it’s for the best.

Contracts/agreements for consulting

Contracts are generally for three to six months, with the opportunity to renew as needed.

TIP: Break down your consulting arrangement into phases to allow for natural pauses in the workflow, allowing you to part ways with your consultant in peace if the relationship isn’t working out.

Setting the optimum time frame for your project is crucial to ensuring that your consultant has enough time to provide results and keep your project on track.

Consulting criteria, names of responsible parties, payment schedules, and any related deliverables and deadlines are all included in a typical consulting contract.

What should your budget be?

Since the solution is so straightforward, this is one of my favorite questions: Value determines the price.

When advisory rates might vary from $150 to $10,000 per hour and project fees can range from $1,000 to $250,000, data on costs alone aren’t beneficial.

Contractors vs. consultants

“What’s the difference between hiring a $30/hr ppt writer from Craigslist and hiring an MBA for $300/hr?” I’m often asked. While I wish the distinction were evident, with the phrases “consultant” and “contractor” being used interchangeably recently, there has been some uncertainty regarding what each term signifies.

Consultant – External Temporary Expert – Intellectual/Capital Property

Contractor – Internal Temporary Employee – Executors

Understanding this crucial distinction will help you receive more from your consultant. Still, it will also save you money by allowing you to recognize when it is preferable to engage a “contractor.”

How do you make a budget?

Consider this: how much is this worth to you? Also, how much can I spend?

Here are three tips to help you figure out what budget is proper for you:

Consider percentages: Setting a defined proportion of your overall expenses and sales as the budget for employing a consultant is an excellent approach to figuring out the proper amount. For example, paying a consultant $5,000 per month if your monthly sales are $10,000 is not smart. On the other hand, if your monthly sales are $200,000 and you want to boost them to $500,000, $5,000 a month for a six-month consulting contract looks more inexpensive.

Consider phases: If this is a complicated project with many unknowns, consider dividing it into steps to reduce risk. For example, if you want to restructure your marketing efforts for numerous product lines, you should focus on each line separately rather than all at once. This may not only lower the cost of hiring a consultant, but it may also reduce the overall need for you to have one. If you are able to learn from their strategy for the first product line, you may be able to replicate their methods for the remaining product lines on your own. This would eliminate the need for a consultant.

Ask a consultant: A consultant may often assist you in deciding the correct scope and budget for your project for free. Preliminary chats with a consultant are also an excellent approach to test the waters of a possible working partnership.

In conclusion

A small business consultant may help you operate your firm by allowing you to plan and, in some instances, execute your business strategy. I believe in small business mentoring because I see the results on a daily basis!

However, not all consultants are made equal, just as not all firms or business initiatives are. First, you should consider why you’re considering hiring a consultant, how long you’re willing to wait for results, and how much you can afford to pay for their advice. Then you must pick a consultant with whom you have a strong rapport. You’ve set yourself up for success when all of that comes together.

27 Incredible Stock Market Statistics You Won’t Believe Are Real

0
Financial graphs and diagrams. Business, economics and investment concept 2022.

The stock market is a primary exercise of a practically free economy, where buyers and sellers are the significant drivers of the pricing of goods and services. So when you look at its numbers and the magnitude at which it operates, one can’t help but be amazed by them.

 

However, it’s not always rosy in stock investing, especially when we’re dealing with the recession and economic crisis. Hence, we find it worthwhile to present 27 of the most important and astounding stock market statistics, good and bad, reminding us how crucial a stable and healthy economy is for a nation’s growth.

  1. Global stock market capitalization -116.78 trillion dollars

Despite the devastating effects of lockdowns enforced in many parts of the world, the stock market’s resilience is quite remarkable, bouncing back big time. At the beginning of 2022, the total value of global stock markets has already reached nearly 117 trillion dollars, a 460 percent growth from its value of 25 trillion dollars in 2009.

  1. US stock market value – 41 trillion dollars

US stock exchanges, NYSE and NASDAQ, account for 54 percent of the total world stock market capitalization, dominating the market in value and scale. These operators are so big that their value is equivalent to combining the stock exchanges of Canada, Japan, London, China, Hongkong, Saudi Arabia, and Euronext.

  1. Stock ownership of US top 1% – 22 trillion dollars

The class gap cannot be broader and more evident than the value of stocks owned by the ultra-rich in the US. With the top 10% owning 89 percent of the stocks and funds in the country, that leaves only 11 percent for the rest of the investors.

  1. Number of stock exchange operators with more than 1 trillion dollars in market value – 19

Aside from the NYSE and NASDAQ, there are 17 more that are part of this exclusive trillion-dollar club. They include Shanghai Stock Exchange, Euronext, and Japan Exchange Group, to name a few. These operators account for over 93 percent of the world’s stock market cap.

  1. Total market value of top 5 US companies in the world – 7.93 trillion dollars

When you combine the valuation of Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Tesla, it will exceed the third highest stock market cap, the Shanghai Stock Exchange in China. However, it has a current value of 7.37 trillion dollars, more than half a trillion short of the top 5’s total market cap.

  1. Approximate number of US stock indices – 5,000

Many of us are familiar with three of them, the most widely followed: the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and NASDAQ Composite. However, it is the Wilshire 5000 that has all the listed companies in the US; hence it is often referred to as the total market index.

  1. Longest US bull market – 11 years

The 11-year bull run is the longest in US record, whose end in March 2020 was brought about by the sudden Covid shutdown. It achieved its extraordinary feat with slow yet steady growth, lasting more than twice the industry average of 4 years.

  1. Stock market correction frequency – once in 2 years

The biennial correction in the stock market is a significant improvement from its usual once-a-year occurrence pre-World War II. This market correction refers to a drop in stocks ranging from 10 to 20%. Beyond this figure, you have a bear market just like what happened during the initial lockdowns, where stocks have dropped significantly but have since recovered.

  1. Apple’s current market cap – 2.5 trillion dollars

Based on its staggering figures, Apple is the most valuable company globally. It not only has the highest market value among corporations, but it was also the first publicly-traded company to hit the 3 trillion mark in early 2022. What’s more impressive is that the 1 trillion increase occurred in less than 2 years since it first reached 2 trillion.

  1. IT stock market share – 27.6 percent

As of 2021, IT’s exposure to the S&P 500 index is almost 28 percent. This sector consists of software services, hardware, electronic equipment, etc., led by Apple, Microsoft, and Nvidia Corporation. Its dominance is not surprising because its ubiquitous products are made for a virtual world that has prospered even more during the Covid lockdowns.

  1. Estimated algorithmic trading – above 80%

The days of traditional trading where orders are placed over the phone are almost gone, at least in the US and several other developed financial markets. It has been replaced by algorithmic trading, more than 80 percent of it. This trading is an automated approach using computer algorithms to trade the stock market. While it is widely used in first-world countries, it has yet to catch on among emerging economies such as India, whose overall market volume is only 40 percent.

  1. Total share buybacks in 2021 – 881.7 billion dollars

2021 has set a new record for the highest share repurchases amounting to over 880 billion dollars. It marks an almost 70 percent increase from 2020 and a 9.3 percent rise from the previous record of 806.4 billion dollars in 2018. Moreover, analysts expect its number to rise in 2022 despite reduced prices, which will raise the number of purchased shares and jack its earnings-per-share.

  1. NASDAQ’s 20-year investment return – 907%

One of two goliaths in the industry, the NASDAQ 100 Index Tracking ETF would have made you nearly a 1000 percent return if you’ve had your money with them since 2002. As such, it has become the best performing major stock index. The honor of being the best in the world overall goes to the Indian Sensex, increasing 1792% in the last 2 decades.

  1. Average loss from the September effect – (-0.83%)

Historically, the three leading stock market indices had the worst performance in September. However, many stock analysts acknowledge it as a   global phenomenon and attribute it to seasonal portfolio changes and the practice of selling losing positions in mutual funds during this month. Conversely, April is the best month to buy stocks based on the increased average return of 2.4% within the last 20 years.

  1. Total stock market loss during the Great Depression – 89.2 percent

The Dow experienced its worst numbers from 381.17 to 41.22 and an almost 90 percent loss within 3 years of the stock market crash. Before the Great Depression, it was the roaring 20s for a reason – many businesses experienced significant success, frequently raising stock prices until 1929.

  1. Best stock market gain in the last 90 years – 46.59 percent

1933 is regarded as the best year after coming back from the Great Depression, rebounding with more than 46 percent. However, a series of wins and losses would ensue until the market earned big at 45.02 percent in 1954.

  1. Expected number of bear markets in a 50-year investment period – 14

Watching the stock dive may be pretty painful, but such downturns are temporary and short-lived. And besides, one should not automatically assume that bear markets are the same as recessions. Out of the 26 bear markets since the Great Depression, you can only associate 15 recessions with them.

  1. Stock market yield from 1995 to 1999 – 26.3% per year

This period has produced one of the best bull markets, coming off the heels of Bill Clinton’s special relationship with Tony Blair. A jump of 34.11% was recorded in 1995 and continued its exceptional showing for five years.

  1. S&P 500 annual return from 1996 to 2020 – 8 percent

We know that investors stand to earn more in stocks than in government bonds, but it does not happen 100 percent of the time. During this 25-year period, long-term bonds, which are one-third less volatile, beat the US stock market by earning more at 8.2 percent.

  1.  Number of economic recessions in the last century – 18

With 18 recessions in the last 100 years, one would occur every five years or so. While there is always that massive risk in the stock market, staying invested is the key to outliving such market crashes.

  1. Zoom stock gain in 2020 – 248 percent

While many companies have suffered from losses during the Covid lockdowns, there are a few that made bank. For example, zoom, a company that offers a teleconferencing platform, was one of the top gainers in 2020. From trading at under 69 dollars per share, it skyrocketed to more than 239 dollars in less than a year.

  1. Percentage of US households with equity overseas – 10 percent

Ten percent of U.S. households had equity in foreign investments, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. This was up from 7 percent three years ago. The survey does not specify the percentage of households with overseas investments held in the form of equity.

  1. Number of recessions since 2000 (excluding Covid recession) – 2

There have been two recessions since 2000, excluding the Covid recession. The first was from 2001 to 2002 and the second was from 2007 to 2009.

  1. Projected assets to be managed by robo advisors in 2022 – 1.78 trillion dollars

Robo advisors are expected to manage a staggering 1.78 trillion dollars in assets in just a few years. That represents a massive opportunity for these cutting-edge investment firms, and it’s one that they are well-positioned to capitalize on.

  1. Major global stock exchanges – 60

These include the likes of the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, and Tokyo Stock Exchange. Each one offers investors a different range of opportunities to buy and sell stocks.

  1. Age of the longest operating stock exchange (Frankfurt Stock Exchange) – 436 years

The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges globally. It was founded in 1585 by an edict of Emperor Maximilian I. This makes it the oldest still operating exchange in the world. The exchange is also one of the largest in Germany, with a market capitalization of over €1 trillion.

  1. NASDAQ stock exchange size – 3,767 listed companies

The NASDAQ is a relatively young exchange, having only been founded in 1971. It was the first stock exchange to be entirely electronic, and it has remained at the forefront of technological innovation ever since. Today, the NASDAQ is one of the most widely-used and respected stock exchanges globally.

Here Are Five Interesting Bonds No One Is Talking About in 2022

0

Deciding where to invest your money in uncertain times can be tricky. The right option for you might be one of these five interesting bonds.

Even the most experienced investors struggle to determine where they should be putting their money as the global economy continues to experience turmoil. Inflation, war, supply chain interruptions, and many other factors create plenty of confusion. As the stock market trends downward, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about traditional investment advice. Nevertheless, some compelling options include the following bonds that seem to be flying under everyone’s radar this year.

Series I Savings Bonds

When it comes to finding a relatively safe place to put your money in uncertain times, it might seem impossible to expect a high rate of return. That is precisely what this unique bond can offer, however. The Series I savings bond is backed by the federal government and can earn an annual interest rate of more than 7%.

That rivals the profit you might expect from investing in stocks, but it also comes with the safety and security of a savings bond. Moreover, they are currently paying out such a high rate specifically because the economy is experiencing such a rapid rate of economic inflation. Since the rate of return is tied to how much urban consumers are paying for goods and services, these investment vehicles are likely to remain attractive as long as prices go up.

Many people might not even know about such savings bonds despite their obvious upside. That is partly because they are available for purchase directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Municipal Bonds

While investments in municipal bonds do not pay a rate of return as high as some other options, there might be other compelling reasons for you to consider such a vehicle for your money. These bonds are meant to help fund infrastructure projects in local communities, so anyone living in those areas could see their city or town benefit while they make a bit of profit in the end.

Furthermore, these investments are not taxed at the state level as long as the investor lives in the same state as the bond’s origin. There are a few different ways to get started in the municipal bond market, but each option generally carries the same reward with minimal risk. So if avoiding taxes while watching your community benefit from a new capital investment sounds like an intriguing concept, these bonds might be for you.

Convertible Bonds

The stock market might be in chaos these days, but this doesn’t mean that investors need to shun Wall Street entirely. For that reason, a convertible bond might represent the best of both worlds. These are bonds that a publicly-traded company initially issued. As its name implies, convertible bonds allow individuals to switch their investments into shares of that company.

You can expect to receive a higher return on interest payments than certain other bonds. Still, it also provides the flexibility that investors with close ties to the stock market might prefer. Of course, you should not expect the overall interest rate to be relatively as high as some alternatives. Nevertheless, the safety and convenience of convertible bonds combine to make this a compelling choice for many wary investors.

Foreign Bonds

Another unique way to protect your money in uncertain times involves investing in foreign bonds. These are issued by international sources and are held in the local currency instead of U.S. dollars. Those who are skeptical about the strength of American money might want to hedge their bets by sinking some cash into these investment opportunities.

Of course, since their value is tied to the rate at which the foreign currency exchanges on the global market, such bonds are associated with higher risks than some of the more conventional bonds. But, despite that fact, there are some compelling arguments in favor of selecting this path for at least a portion of your future investments.

Junk Bonds

Although the inauspicious name and sketchy track record of junk bonds might make them seem unnecessarily risky, that is not always the case. Companies indeed issue such bonds with a low rating, but this does not always mean a severe risk of losing money by investing in them.

If the goal is to diversify your portfolio, it is at least worth considering whether junk bonds should be a part of the equation. In tumultuous times such as these, investors might overlook this option at their peril.

It can be challenging to determine where to put your money, even in the best economic situations. However, when facing domestic and international problems such as those at play in 2022, making the right choices is more important than ever.